October 25, 2011

Kai Murukku

Diwali is a time for joy and celebration and it is never complete without sweets and snacks.  Snacks being a favorite in my household, I usually end up preparing more snacks than sweets.  Kai Murukku is a very popular South Indian snack and is also well enjoyed by all of us at home.   Not many people prepare this at home as making them as it is a time consuming effort which requires patience and practice.

2 cups Rice Flour
2 tsp Urad Flour
2 to 2.5 tbsp butter brought to room temperature
1 to 1.25 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp sesame seeds
two pinches of hing powder

Begin my making the urad dal flour. Roast some split urad dal on medium heat till it becomes light reddish brown in color.  Cool this down and ground to a fine powder.  Seive out the coarse parts.  Any extra can always be used the next time or added in kootu.  If using store bought flour,  roast the flour till it slight changes color.  Combine both the flours well.  Add the butter and mix the flour well till the butter is all incorporated thoroughly.  Do not compromise on this step as it is very important.  If this is not even, the murukku will not be uniformly crispy.   Add the seeds to the flour.

Take about  a cup of water and dissolve the salt and the hing in it.  Add this water little at a time and more(which will be needed) to form a soft dough.  Now you are ready to make some murukkus.

Take some oil in a small plate.  Grease your palms with little oil.  Pinch off a small lemon sized ball from the dough.  Roll it nicely between your palms.  Dip the tips of your fingers in the oil and roll out the tip between your fingers.  Keep a paper towel on a flat surface.  Hold down the tip with your left forefinger and start rotating and moving around the dough in circles.  For a beginner, this comes only with practice.  It is also important that the dough is soft. Otherwise,  it is going to break up while making them.  

Make about 10 to 12 before starting to heat up the oil.  Once the oil is hot enough, slowly remove the murukkus from the paper towel and slide into the oil.  Fry few pieces at a time.  The murukkus are done once the oil stops sizzling and the bubbles are gone.

Remove the cooked murukkus and place them on a tissue paper to drain out the excess oil.
Sending this to
Serve it-Festival Potluck event of Krithi and Denny

My Diwali My way event by Khushi

Besan Ladoo

With Diwali around the corner,  preparations must be going on for making some sweets and savories.   My first attempt is the Besan Ladoo.   This is a traditional and a very popular dish in Indian households during Diwali time.  Besan burfi or Mysore Pakku as it is known in the South is what I have tried in the past.  As I wanted to go easy on the ghee I decided to try out the ladoo for the first time.  Not only for that but I have also oflate become hooked on these type of ladoos which I never even used to taste in my childhood days.

I followed a couple of recipes one being Manjulas Kitchen and the other being Tarla Dalal.   I like the former as you get to visually see the making process.  I also refer Vahrehwah.com for sweets and desserts.  I started off following Manjula's recipe without the rawa.  As my flour started cooking, mine was no way near the consistency of hers so switched to Tarla Dalals and just used my discretion in the end.  The result was quite good considering this is my first attempt at these ladoos.  Except, that I am not good at shaping them into good balls.

2 cups of ladoo besan(this is coarse in comparison to regular besan)
2/3 cup of ghee
2 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 tsp elaichi powder
roasted cashews or slivered almonds(optional)

Heat up the ghee to warm and slowly add the gram flour.  Mix everything well and start cooking on medium flame.  Roast till the flour becomes golden brown in color and you also begin to get a nice aroma.  Add the elaichi powder, mix well and transfer to a bowl.  Once the mixture is warm, add the powdered sugar and chopped nuts and mix well.  Shape them into round balls.

For extra garnish,  dip the tip of the balls in ghee and dip in some coarsely chopped almonds or pisachios.

This dish goes out to a few events

Every Tuesday-Bookmarked Recipes event of Priya
Serve it-Festival Potluck event of Krithi and Denny
"Only"-Sweets and Desserts event by Gayathri

October 23, 2011

Onion, Tomato and Capsicum Chutney

 Chutneys complement well with our Indian breakfast dishes.   Eventhough the coconut chutneys have their own flavor and is commonly liked by everybody, I like to prepare chutneys using vegetables.  I had these bell peppers lying in my fridge for more than a week that I decided to use it up for making this chutney.  The results was some reallly nice spicy chutney.  The tomatoes and the red peppers gave a nice stunning color to the chutney.  Enjoyed this chutney with the Masoor dal idlis.

1/2 cup chopped onions
1 medium to big tomato
1 bell pepper(I combined red and green peppers)
3-4 red chillies
2 tsp urad dal
3 tsp chana dal
pinch of hing powder
few coriander leaves
salt to taste
1/4 tsp of tamarind paste

Begin by roasting the chana dal and urad dal in some hot oil,  add the red chillies and the hing powder.  Immediately add the onion and saute it for a minute.  Add the peppers and saute it for a minute or two.  Add the tomatoes some salt and tiny pinch of turmeric.  Saute this again till the tomatoes begin to get soft.  Turn off the heat and add the tamarind and the coriander leaves.  Let this mixture cool nicely.

Grind everything to a smooth paste.  Add another tablespoon of oil(I used olive oil) while grinding just to be able to keep it longer.

Kariveppilai Kuzhambu

This is one of the traditional recipes of the Tamil households.  Usually it is prepared in little large quantities that will last for a week.  I really love having this during cold wintery days to get the heat from the pepper.  This time I prepared this based on the recipe given by my aunt.

12-15 medium size sprigs of curry leaves
big lemon sized tamarind ball
2 tsp black pepper
4 long red chillies
2 tsp urad dal
tiny ginger piece

Take two spoons of oil and roast the urad dal and the red chillies without burning them.  Lower the heat and add the black pepper, curry leaves and the tamarind pieces and saute it lightly.   Add the ginger as well.   Take all this and grind everything to a smooth paste with salt and 1/2 tsp of brown sugar.  Use about 4 cups of water.

Take a pan with 3-4 tbsp of oil, season mustard and add the paste.  Let all this cook nicely till the kuzhambu reduces in quantity by one cup by which time you will also get a nice aroma.

Enjoy with some steaming hot rice with few drops of ghee!!!

October 19, 2011

Healthy Potato and Spinach Salad

This is a very nutritious and refreshing salad which will surely be enjoyed by kids....mine love it so much that they are ready to eat this given anytime of the day.  I usually have this salad ready for them as an after school snack.  It has all the goodness of the proteins and vitamins and keeps them satisfied for some time:)

2 handfuls spinach(salad spinach which come in packages)
3 medium size potatoes boiled, peeled and cut into big cubes
2 small tomatoes
3 inch cucumber piece
1/4 of a small onion
1/2 cup of boiled channa
handful of toasted peanuts(optional)

3 tbsp olive oil
salt, lemon juice and pepper to taste

Chop  the spinach coarsely and cut the tomatoes in half and each half into eighths.  Peel and cube the cucumber as well.  Cut the onions into 1 inch length slices.  Combine all these along with the chana and toasted peanuts.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk them together.  Add this to the salad ingredients and toss everything well till it all combines thoroughly. Enjoy!!

October 18, 2011

Yellow Squash Chutney/Dip

This is one good way to use up the yellow squash which works as a good side.

2 cups chopped yellow squash
2 tsp chana dal
1/2 tsp urad dal
1/4 tsp cumin seeds(optional)
1/4 tsp mustard seed(optional)
1 to 2 red chili long variety
salt to taste
tamarind small piece

Saute the squash on medium flame stirring all the time with salt until it becomes soft.  Roast the chana dal, urad dal, red chili and splutter the mustard and cumin seeds all separately with a spoon of oil.  Grind these first to a coarse powder with salt.  Add the vegetable and the tamarind and grind it to a paste.  Check for salt and tamarind, add more if needed and pulse it again.  This can be had with idlis and dosa or used as a dip.  If used as a dip you can omit the seasoning. 

You can add some chopped coriander leaves while grinding dalong with the vegetable.

October 17, 2011

Beet root Poli

As I was left with some beets after making the pulao, I wanted to try something different.  The result was these lovely Beet root polis.

 1 medium size beet root peeled and processed
1/4 cup of slivered almond powdered or almond meal
1/4 cup of brown sugar(can add little more if needed)
1 cup of milk(used low fat)
1/4 tsp elaichi powder

Outer covering
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 table spoon oil for kneading

Combine all these ingredients to form a soft pliable dough and set it aside for an hour.

In the meanwhile, chop the beet root into rough pieces and process in a food processor.  Transfer this to a vessel along with the ground almonds and a cup of milk and pressure cook for 10 minutes.  Once you are ready to open, take this to a pan and cook on the stove top till all the mixture is absorbed completely and add some brown sugar and about a couple of spoons of ghee.   Turn off the stove once it comes together and begins to leave the pan.  Add the elaichi powder, let it mix well and turn off the heat.

The stuffing is basically like preparing for beet root halwa. You can also pressure cook the beetroot along with the almond powder with the same amount of milk and later on do the remaining part on the stove top. 

Now, divide the stuffing into equal portions and also the dough into same numbers.  Just remember the stuffing should be as big as the dough rounds or even bigger.  Roll out the dough into a small circle and place the filling in the middle.  Bring over the dough together over the filling and pinch off the excess.  Then roll out the stuffed dough into a thin roti.  You can also flatten it with you fingers on a plastic sheet applying ghee or oil.  For a low calorie version, rolling is better.

Cook the stuffed boli both sides till light brown spots appear and then once more after applying ghee on both sides.  Enjoy these colorful and delicious polis when it is hot!!

For the above quantity of stuffing, you can get  about 4-5 polis.

This recipe goes to

Dish it out - Wheat and Jaggery event of Vardhini guest hosted at South Indian Home

"Only"-Sweets and Desserts event of Pari guest hosted at Gayathri's Cook Spot

October 14, 2011

Spinach Parathas

Kids like the plain parathas as much as the stuffed parathas like aloo, cauliflower etc.  Instead of keeping it plain, I like to incorporate some vegetable as much as I can.  It is also the best way of using the leftover veggies in the refrigerator.  Here is what I did

2 cups wheat flour
2 tightly packed cups of baby spinach washed
pinch of turmeric powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp chilli powder
salt to taste
2 tsp oil or more if you prefer while kneading the dough

Take everything in the food processor and run till the spinach is coarsely chopped.  Transfer this to a bowl and knead into a soft dough adding little water at a time.  Grease your hands in the end and knead the dough further for about 5 minutes.  Set aside the dough for an hour.

Roll it out evenly and cook on a hot tawa.  Cook both sides without oil and cook further applying oil on both sides till brown spots appear.  Serve with raita or any side dish of your choice.

October 13, 2011

Minty Baked Namakparas

I prepared thsese namakparas many months ago which I had not posted in my blog. Now with the Healthy Bakes event going on it was apt for me to post it now and send it to the Healthy Cooking Challenge-Healthy Bakes an event of Smitha and guest hosted by Priya of Easy and Tasty recipes.

1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
salt to taste
chilli powder to taste
1/4 tea spoon garlic powder or 1 clove of garlic
2 handfuls of mint leaves
2 table spoon oil or softened butter

Grind the mint leaves coarsely with garlic if using the fresh one or chop it fine.  Mix the flour with salt, chilli powder and garlic powder if using the powder.   Add the oil and rub it in thoroughly till all the flour is well coated with the oil.  Add the mint and very little water to knead it into a tight dough. Roll it out into a thin roti and cut them into 1 inch by 2 inch strips.  Transfer these to a greased baking sheet.

Stick into a oven preheated to 400 degrees and cook them for about 8-10 minutes turning them once in between.
These make yummy tea time snack!!  These can be enjoyed with any dip.  I had this snack with Yellow Squash Chutney/Dip.

October 12, 2011

Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani is a one of the traditional dish of the Punjabi cuisine packed with proteins and rich in fibre.  A generous amount of butter and cream are also added to lend a rich flavor.  However, I wanted to replicate this dish with some fat milk instead of the rich cream.  And the outcome was quite good and we all got a fulfilling meal!!

1 and a 1/4 cup of whole urad
1/2 cup rajma
1 medium onion finely chopped
3 medium ripe tomatoes pureed
2 inch piece ginger grated
4-5 big garlic cloves
2 slit green chili
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp garam masala powder
oil as required
2 tsp butter
1/2 to 1 cup fat milk

 Soak the dals together overnight and pressure cook in water about 5 times the quantity of the dal.  Add salt and little amount of the chili powder and some ginger while cooking.  Once the pressure is released, mash the dals with the masher while it is still hot.

Take sufficient oil and when it is hot splutter the cumin seeds.  Add the ginger, garlic and chili and give a quick stir.  When it is slightly brown add the onions and saute until it is brown in color.  Add the chili and coriander powder and stir a couple of times.  Immediately add the tomato puree and let it cook till it begins to leave the sides.  Add the cooked dal along with the water,  garam masala and salt as needed and let it come to boil on a medium heat. Add the milk and let it cook further.  Lower the heat and cook on low for 10 minutes till the dals are blended well.  Garnish with coriander leaves and the butter.

P.S.  I was making this quantity for a potluck meal.  About 1/2 a cup measure of urad dal is enough to serve 3-4 people.  Adjust the other ingredients accordingly.

October 10, 2011

Beetroot Pulao

Pulao is a very favorite dish among young and old as it works as a quite fulfilling one pot meal.  Yesterday I made this Beetroot Pulao for dinner and dal makhani(without the makhan).  The pulao is quite a simple dish using chopped beetroots instead of the regular carrots and the rest being the same.

Ingredients for the pulao are as follows

1 cup basmati rice soaked for about 20 minutes
a handful of chopped beetroot and potatoes
a handful of frozen beans and peas
1/2 a small onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic, 1 long green chili and 1 inch piece ginger all finely chopped
4 cloves, small piece of cinnamon and a pinch of elaichi powder
cumin seeds for seasoning

Take 3 tsp of oil and splutter the cumin seeds when it is hot.  Add all the whole masalas and immediately add the onions.  Saute them for a couple of minutes and add the chopped ginger, garlic and green chili.  Follow it with the drained rice and fry till you get the aroma.  Add all the vegetables and stir for about 5 minutes.  Add water in the ratio of 1:2 and let it come to boiling.   Lower the heat, add the required salt, stir and cook on low flame till all the water is gone.  Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.